Five things to consider when adapting to change

“The only thing that is constant is change” – Heraclitus (Greek philosopher).

Change is an essential part of how we evolve, grow and develop our personality and sense of self. Yet at times change can be scary. Learning to understand what change is, how to cope with it and how it can positively influence our lives can be a life skill to supplement our overall wellbeing.

What does “adapting to change” mean?

If you think about how your life has changed over the years, a number of things will naturally be different. From your physical appearance (hairstyle, hair color, fashion sense) to where you live, who you love and what job you do. Change happens all the time. As we become more comfortable accepting change is inevitable, adapting to change can become easier.

Change is a shift in an external event or situation. If something comes to an end, there is also a new beginning to look forward to. For example, a change of career, a house move or the end of a relationship – these changes will each lead to new experiences.

Transition is an internal process we go through when dealing with change. It’s how we come to terms with what’s happened. Transition is the psychological process that happens within us in response to the change.

Why adapting to change is important

Change is important for our personal development. Your self-confidence and resilience increase as you learn and grow through changes and periods of transition in your life.

Even though it can be a tough ask at times, it’s important to think positively around change. Being ready and able to adapt to change is incredibly beneficial for our health and wellbeing. We’re able to see the situation more clearly and this reduces unnecessary stress and worries. We’re also more open to new opportunities, new experiences and new beginnings when we embrace change.

Why is adapting to change difficult?

Change is constant, but that doesn’t make it any less scary at times. Uncertainties and apprehension can easily overwhelm any optimism we may have about an impending life change.  People can be uncomfortable with change and this can lead to resistance.

It’s common to have a fear of the unknown, which often leads to feelings of anxiousness.  It can also be difficult when we have little or no control about an impending change. For example, if we’re moved to a new role or department at work, it may be best for our employer, but it may not be something we particularly want to happen. Having a mindset where you view change as a positive - even in the smallest of ways – can help you to cope in times of uncertainty.

How to cope with change

  1. A good way to deal with the unknowns of a changing situation is to think through possible outcomes. It’ll help you to acknowledge what’s happening while allowing you to work through the thoughts swirling around in your mind. What would be your best-case scenario? Your worst? This life hack can help you to gain perspective and adapt to what’s going on.
  2. Another useful tip is to think back to when you were faced with a sizeable change and remind yourself how you coped. What positive actions helped you to be resilient then?Can they be applied now? What should you avoid?
  3. Focus on positive behaviors and take time out. Taking a pause to relax can help reduce the impact that stress has on your physical and emotional health.
  4. Developing a daily routine that includes getting active can be a beneficial to your overall wellbeing. Exercise is also a great stress reliever. Taking a short brisk walk will really make a difference.
  5. Having a good network of friends and family is important too, as they can often help you to see things in a different light. Having a giggle is great for keeping stress in check.

Benefits of adapting to change

It’s helpful to imagine change as though you are turning the page in your favorite book…You’re closing one chapter and beginning another one. Change brings with it something new, and that’s exciting.

Change can trigger progress, and this can be a big positive for our personal growth. Change can lead us to new routines, new opportunities and new beginnings. As we grow and learn, change can also be the catalyst that causes us to reassess our values, beliefs and goals in life.

Being able to adapt to change helps us to be more robust and see the positive in challenging scenarios.

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